Mississippi State could not capitalize on a brilliant pitching performance from Cole Gordon Friday afternoon.
In his longest start of the season, Gordon threw seven innings with just one run allowed but the bullpen faltered late as No. 5 seed MSU dropped a 12-3 decision to top-seeded Florida on the fourth day of the Southeastern Conference Tournament at Hoover Metropolitan Stadium.
MSU faced No. 4 seed Arkansas at approximately 6:30 p.m. late Friday night in an elimination game. If the Bulldogs win, they get a rematch with Florida Saturday.
Gordon was lifted after a leadoff single in the eighth inning ended his career-best outing. Gordon allowed four hits, with a season-high seven strikeouts and no walks. Spencer Price walked the only batter he faced in relief in the eighth inning.
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Riley Self followed and got a pair of strikeouts but was also touched for three hits and five runs (all earned). Trey Jolly followed but could not record an out as he walked the two batters he faced. Jacob Barton and Andrew Mahoney were also needed before the Bulldogs got out of the eighth inning.
Florida (42-15) erased a 3-0 deficit by scoring 11 times in the eighth inning with six base hits and six walks. The big blow was a two-run go-ahead single by Austin Langworthy. The game-tying run had been walked in, while the Gators also got a bases-loaded walk to force home an insurance run.
MSU (36-23) built its lead with single runs in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings.
In the fourth inning, Biloxi’s Cody Brown reached on an error. Hunter Vansau followed with an RBI-triple. In the fifth inning, Josh Lovelady singled to start the frame. Lovelady advanced on a hit by Ryan Gridley and later scored on a wild pitch.
The next score came in the sixth inning when Hunter Stovall had a leadoff hit and later scored on a double by Vansau.
MSU finished with 12 hits. Stovall had three hits, while Gridley, Vansau and Elijah MacNamee each had two hits.